A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
Written By: Dr. Samantha Boardman of a Positive Prescription
When people ask me how I got to where I am today I have one answer, meditation. It’s a strong answer, especially for those that don’t meditate and therefore might not quite get it. Trust me, I was once that person and now I couldn’t imagine living my life without it.
I create space and make time for this practice each and every day because the benefits are far too rewarding to pass up. Let’s face it though, that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Before having my now two year old son, my meditation practice was the first thing I did the second I woke up in the morning. Russel Simmons has been quoted many times that he “doesn’t do shit” until he meditates, and I felt the same way until my business and motherhood happened. Unfortunately, a lot of shit happens now before I meditate (insert child). Life happens like your kid getting sick, waking up at 4:30am and crawling into your bed. So where does meditation fit in for those with crazy busy schedules or days like these? You have to schedule the time with yourself just as you schedule a session with your trainer or your therapist.
My biggest advice if you’re new to meditation is that it can fit into many areas of your life. You simply just have to be open to seeing it this way. I now practice a mix between Vedic and Mindfulness Meditation that meets me right where I am. I don’t necessarily label it any particular style but it’s my practice and that works for me. Most days I’m seated in a chair, but some days I’m standing listening to a guided meditation (Insight Timer-free meditation app)while doing my makeup. Bottom line, you don’t have to be in an Instagram perfected meditation pose to get all the benefits of meditating. There are so many different ways to bring more mindfulness into your life.
Untraditional Meditation Moments:
- While breastfeeding/pumping for new moms out there
- Listening to a guided meditation while doing your makeup or walking
- During your commute (on the train, taxi, or airplane)
- In the bathroom. Yes, I’m serious, this has saved me from many meltdowns. Right before any class I teach or any meeting, I go into the bathroom and do a quick breathing exercise and bless everyone in the room before entering.
- In the morning/afternoon/evening the second you get a moment to yourself instead of scrolling through Instagram.
Also, take advantage of that call that ends 5 minutes early, or when someone is running late to meet you. There are always opportunities, shift your perception towards time and you will start to find many more moments to close your eyes to become more present.
My Personal Approach To Meditating:
My “normal” practice consists of sitting in my couch or chair with the middle of my back just gently resting on the back of the seat. With my legs crossed, I put my palms in my lap, close my eyes and start with some breathing exercises to prepare myself to go a little deeper (this helps you find your center and relaxes you into your body). I breath in through my nose for five beats, hold for five and exhale through my nose for five. I repeat that for about five breath cycles total. Then just breath naturally, I don’t push or force anything. As soon as my thoughts take me somewhere other than focusing on my breath, I don’t judge or try to change my thoughts. I simply acknowledge them and come back to my breath. I inhale and say silently to myself “here” and exhale “now”, or I’ll say “peace begins” on my inhale and “with me” on my exhale. I combine a mantra with my breath to anchor my thoughts when my mind starts to take me somewhere else other than the present moment. At the end of my meditation I close it with this prayer:
“Where would you have me go? What would would you have me do? What would you have me say? And to whom?”
I ask these four questions so I’m no longer relying on my own strength but a higher power to guide me. I aim for twenty minutes in the beginning of the day and then in the early evening I try my best to do another ten minutes. However, not everyday looks like this and even if I only have five minutes I do something. I’ll sit and close my eyes and connect with my breath.
Personal Benefits I’ve Experienced From My Meditation Practice:
- Being less reactive
- My acne has healed
- Less anxious and less anxiety overall
- Having much more patience
- A very strong sense of inner tune to my inner guide
- Present in the moment
- Most importantly… much more peace and ease in my day to day life
If I could leave you with two very important things it would be that if you’re doing it at all, you’re doing something right. Don’t judge the process. Just keep showing up everyday for yourself whether it’s for two or twenty minutes and I promise you’ll gain so much as a result.